Obama, Clinton Closer Today: Rahm

Rahm Emanuel knows President Barack Obama well.

He knows former President Bill Clinton well.

All is well with them, says Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, former White House chief of staff for Obama and former White House adviser to Clinton. At the Bloomberg/Washington Post breakfast with Emanuel in Charlotte this morning, he spoke about an evolving relationship.

Emanuel has resigned as co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign to raise money for super-PACs supporting Obama — there is far more money to be raised in bigger sums in those hunting grounds. He already has raised $3 million for Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC formed by other former Obama aides.

Emanuel maintains that Republicans aren’t “too happy with their nominee” and are already looking toward the 2016 presidential campaign, including the potential presence then of Romney’s unning mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The Romney camp rejects that notion: “The differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney couldn’t be clearer,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement today. “Middle class Americans have been crushed in he Obama economy, and even President Obama has admitted that mericans are not better off than they were four years ago.”

Obama and Clinton have grown closer, and any distance in their relationship during the first part of Obama’s presidency s understandable, given the 2008 Democratic primary fight that Obama waged with Clinton’s wife, Emanuel said.

“President Obama beat Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Bill Clinton is a very protective husband and very competitive. It ook him more time to get over it. He got over it.”

Obama made Clinton secretary of state.

Clinton voted for Obama in 2008, Emanuel said, and will do so again in 2012, Emanuel said. Clinton will deliver the speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte tonight that places Obama’s name in nomination for re-election.

Clinton is featured in an Obama campaign commercial speaking the choice voters face.

“And he’s going to campaign vigorously for him wherever he wants,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel, a former congressman, also ran his party’s midterm congressional election campaigns in 2006, which briefly gave Democrats a majority in the House. Joining reporters and editors from Bloomberg and the Post today at a center Bloomberg is operating across the street from the convention hall, Emanuel predicted Republicans in November will lose seats in the House, where the party enjoys a 240 to 190 edge with five vacancies.

Asked why enthusiasm for Obama isn’t as strong among more voters as it was in 2008, Emanuel said: “They know he inherited a bad deal… He has made changes and significant progress, but not enough that they have felt it.”

Since his own election in February 2011 to run the third-most-populous U.S. city, Emanuel maintains, infrastructure projects he’s pushing are “putting a lot of people to work” in his city.



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